Irv Rothman is the president and chief executive officer of HP Financial Services, a wholly owned subsidiary of Hewlett-Packard Company. Prior to joining HP, Rothman was president and chief executive officer of Compaq Financial Services Corporation where he led it from its founding to growth of over $3.7 billion in total assets.
Irv is the author of Out-Executing the Competition. What I really admire is that Irv is donating all of the royalties he earns on the sale of the book to Room to Read, an organization dedicated to children’s literacy.
Attracting the Right Talent
Much of success in business is about finding and cultivating the right talent. How did you attract and retain the talent needed to accomplish your goals?
Attracting and retaining the right people starts with a leadership commitment to first develop high performers in-house. And this has to be more than an annual “talent management” exercise. It’s an activity that leadership must consistently demonstrate is important by developing people and promoting from within. This sends key messages to an organization:
1) Leadership can be trusted to do as they say they will.
2) Career opportunities exist…. No need to look elsewhere.
3) Leadership recognizes and acknowledges that outside hires are a 50/50 proposition.
In short, provide an atmosphere where people can learn and achieve advancement based on merit. Not only will the good people stick around, their hearts will be in it.
Developing a Culture of Execution
Your book title is all about execution. How do you develop a culture of execution?
A culture of execution starts with devotion to the customer. Since it is theoretically easier to keep a customer than to find a new one, all messaging and reward systems need to be packaged around a “customer for life” philosophy. And a pay-for-performance compensation system is a must. Moreover, it can’t be black box; people need to be clear as to what rewards can be expected from results and behaviors. Once you’ve got all that organized, creating an environment where people have freedom to act on behalf of the customer is crucial. You can’t have a circumstance where people are bound by the linear strictures of a traditional command and control organization. It not only frustrates your employees, it also makes for dissatisfaction on the part of the people on the other end of the phone.
In yesterday’s post, I interviewed Jim Huling about the disciplines of execution. The concepts in the 4 Disciplines of Execution were so fascinating, we continued the conversation.
Much of leadership is influencing people to change. You talk about the five stages of changing human behavior. Would you explain these and is there one stage more difficult to move through than the others?
Because changing human behavior is such a big job, many leaders face challenges when first installing 4DX. In fact, we’ve found that most teams go through five distinct stages of behavior change.
Stage 1: Getting Clear – The leader and the team commit to a new level of performance. They are oriented to 4DX and develop crystal-clear WIGs (wildly important goals), lag and lead measures, and a compelling scoreboard. They commit to regular WIG sessions. Although you can naturally expect varying levels of commitment, team members will be more motivated if they are closely involved in the 4DX work session.
Stage 2: Launch – Now the team is at the starting line. Whether you hold a formal kickoff meeting, or gather your team in a brief huddle, you launch the team into action on the WIG. But just as a rocket requires tremendous, highly focused energy to escape the earth’s gravity, the team needs intense involvement from the leader at this point of launch.
5 Stages of Behavior Change
- Getting Clear
Stage 3: Adoption – Team members adopt the 4DX process, and new behaviors drive the achievement of the WIG. You can expect resistance to fade and enthusiasm to increase as 4DX begins to work for them. They become accountable to each other for the new level of performance despite the demands of the whirlwind.
Stage 4: Optimization – At this stage, the team shifts to a 4DX mindset. You can expect them to become more purposeful and more engaged in their work as they produce results that make a difference. They will start looking for ways to optimize their performance—they now know what “playing to win” feels like.
In every business, strategy is vital for success. It charts the course and sets the direction. But, every strategist knows that so often strategic goals never take off because they are drowned by all of the other competing interests. The daily activities of the organization starve the strategic goal. In The 4 Disciplines of Execution, a terrific new book, authors Chris McChesney, Sean Covey and Jim Huling explain how learning four disciplines can help produce breakthrough results.
And these same concepts can be applied to achieve your personal goals.
After reading the book, I followed up with author Jim Huling to delve into the material.
Jim, for those who aren’t familiar with the four disciplines, would you walk us through them quickly?
- Discipline 1: The discipline of focus. Extraordinary results can only be achieved when you are clear about what matters most. As simple as this principle may sound, few leaders ever master it. 4DX teaches why focus is so critical and how to overcome your biggest source of resistance.
- Discipline 2: The discipline of leverage. With unlimited time and resources, you could accomplish anything. Unfortunately, your challenge is usually the opposite: accomplish more with less. 4DX shows leaders where they can find real leverage and how to use it to produce extraordinary results.
- Discipline 3: The discipline of engagement. You have the authority to make things happen, but you want more than that – you want the performance that only passion and engagement can produce. 4DX enables leaders to rise from authority-driven compliance to passion-driven commitment in themselves and the people they lead.
- Discipline 4: The discipline of accountability. No matter how brilliant your plan or how important your goal, nothing will happen until you follow through with consistent action. 4DX brings the practices that drive accountability and follow through, despite a whirlwind of competing priorities.
Photo courtesy of iStockphoto/iqoncept
The expression “moving the needle” first appeared in England during the industrial revolution. The reference was to gauges on steam engines. During World War II, it became a more common term in reference to aviation gauges. In business today it’s synonymous with making progress.
I’ve seen three major types of people in business. One person can describe the needle, the other can move the needle, and rarely someone can do both. What do I mean?